Types of Absenteeism

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The most usual classification is that which differentiates between legal and personal absenteeism: As a result, we distinguish between three types of absenteeism:

Justified / Involuntary / Paid / Foreseeable or Legal absenteeism

This is the absenteeism that can be controlled because the company is informed previously of the absence. It represents a cost for the company because the employee receives a remuneration. It comprises the following sections:


Absenteeism due to Temporary Disability from occupational accident; occupational illness; non-occupational disease or non work-related injury.


The duration of maternity leave is 16 uninterrupted weeks, which is extended by two more weeks in the case of multiple childbirth, adoption or fostering and in the case of the child's disability. If the baby has to remain hospitalised for more than one week after birth or in cases of premature childbirth, the maternity leave can be extended to a maximum of 13 weeks.

An option exists for the father to take paternity leave. The mother can assign the father up to a maximum of 10 weeks of her allocated leave, the first six weeks of the maternity leave being compulsory for the mother after birth.

Paternity leave from 1 April 2019 is 8 weeks.

Link: RD-Law 6/2019)in PDFThis link will open in a pop-up window

Care of children due to severe illness

The General State Budgets Act no. 39/2010 of 22 December for 2011 (final provision twenty-one) in PDFThis link will open in a pop-up windowincorporated into the legal system a new financial assistance within the protective action of the Social Security Institute named Care for minors suffering from cancer or other serious diseases allocated to biological, adoptive or foster parents who reduce their working schedule in order to care for such minors.

Natural risk during pregnancy and breastfeeding

When the conditions of the workplace can have a negative influence on the health of the pregnant employee or of the foetus or in the event of breastfeeding a child of under nine months of age, the company must adapt her working time or conditions and, if this is not possible or sufficient, the employee must carry out a different work position or function compatible with her state.

Link: Law 31/1995in PDFThis link will open in a pop-up window

In cases in which none of these alternatives is technically or objectively possible or they cannot be demanded for justified reasons, the employee may see her working relationship suspended due to being in one of the two situations analysed.

Link: Legislative Royal Decree 2/2015, of 23 October, which approves the rewritten text of the Workers' Statute Law. Article 45.in PDFThis link will open in a pop-up window

Licences or legal rights

These are absences for reasons included in the Workers' Statute (relating to death or severe illness, hospitalisation or surgical procedure without hospitalisation, medical consultations, marriage, pregnancy, birth, relocations, fulfilment of public and personal duty, examinations in regular studies for obtaining an academic or professional qualification and for trade union functions when forming part of a committee or union).

In addition, they include absences incorporated into the collective agreements (training, Committee meetings, authorised assemblies, etc.)

Finally, absences authorised sporadically due to constitutional referendum (general and municipal elections).


Absences due to unexpected events or unforeseen situations that prevent the employee's arrival at the workplace: bad weather, catastrophes, etc.

Unjustified / Voluntary / Unpaid / Unpredictable / Personal absenteeism

This is any absence from the workplace without the company's authorisation. The employee does not receive any remuneration. It comprises the following sections:

Unauthorised absences

Unjustified absences for whatever reason.

Absences due to penalisation

When the absence entails the suspension of employment and salary.

Special leaves

Absences due to permits granted by the company at the particular level at the express request the interested party.

Labour disputes

Strikes, unauthorised workers' assemblies and others of a political nature.

Absenteeism related to motivation

It is necessary to take into account the other types of absenteeism (presential and emotional), bearing in mind that absenteeism is not only a medical problem but is also considered a social aspect related to an individual and collective attitude towards work where motivation is an essential factor.

At FREMAP we define a third group of absenteeism related to motivational factors, which we have called "Absenteeism related to motivation" and which includes the following types of absenteeism:

Catch-all leaves

Absences that in reality conceal a personal or professional situation of difficult solution which entail a lengthening of the duration of sick leave processes or the contrary situation, i.e., short-duration but frequent sick leaves.


The employee is present in his/her workplace but performing tasks that do not correspond to expectations, causing a reduction of performance or effectiveness.

On the job absenteeism

Some authors point out with the crisis emerged this type of absenteeism in employees who are present in the workplace but absent in their functions. The employee goes to work even when sick, does overtime to project a positive image, highlights his/her work by dedicating more time to tasks and complains about the workload.

Emotional absenteeism

Those employees who perform their tasks but do not produce according to their capacity, that is to say, they do not give the best of themselves.

Source: Chapter: Human Resources Framework (2nd Adecco Report on Absenteeism) in PDFThis link will open in a pop-up window